Jason Aldean says Toby Keith taught him to be ‘unapologetic’ about speaking his mind

May 16, 2024 | Entertainment | 0 comments

Jason Aldean was inspired by Toby Keith to be true to himself through the late country star’s decades-long career.

Aldean says he admired the way Keith “always spoke his mind,” even if what he had to say wasn’t the “popular opinion.”

“I think Toby was a guy for a lot of us in the business – well, I’ll speak for myself. I think he was a guy that a lot of us looked up to,” Aldean told Fox News Digital ahead of the 2024 Academy of Country Music Awards. 

“For me personally, he was a guy that I feel like … just always spoke his mind,” he added. “He said what he thought, whether it was the popular opinion or not. And it wasn’t, you know, it didn’t always go well for him, and he didn’t care. I mean, it was something that if he felt strongly about it and felt like it was something he believed in, he was going to speak his mind.”

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“To me, from personal level, that was something to me that was always inspiring, as far as like, ‘Hey, you can still be an artist and be true to who you are and go out and not be afraid to speak out.’ And I think that was something that always kind of stood with me.”

The best advice Keith ever gave Aldean was “never apologize for being patriotic.”

“Just being not afraid to speak your mind, stand up for what you believe in,” he explained. “Whether other people agree with it or not, be who you are and be unapologetic about it. And I think that’s pretty good advice.”

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Aldean faced backlash in 2023 after his music video for “Try That in a Small Town” went viral. The song was deemed pro-violence and pro-gun due to the lyrics and the music video featuring clips from riots along with footage of people burning an American flag.

“I just think there’s a lot of people out there that just want to go to work and come home, raise their kids, feel comfortable about sending their kids to school and knowing that they’re going to come home,” Aldean previously told Fox News Digital. “Or let their kids go to a movie on a weekend and not worry about something crazy happening to them in the parking lot or inside a movie theater.” 

“It’s just we’re kind of living in the Wild West right now, and I think people are just kind of tired of it,” he added. “There’s just constant chaos and something going on. Somebody is always p—ed off about something, and it’s just one of those songs where there’s a lot of people that could relate to that because they’re just sick of it.”

WATCH: TOBY KEITH INSPIRED JASON ALDEAN TO BE ‘UNAPOLOGETIC’ ABOUT SPEAKING HIS MIND

At the time, Aldean seemingly chose to take Keith’s advice, and he didn’t back down.

“People are kind of scared to say something a lot of times out of fear or losing a job or losing friends,” he explained. “Maybe they’re not going to get work again or whatever it is. People tend to hop on the side that’s just politically correct, and it may be politically correct, but it’s not right. Like, it’s just not, you know what I’m saying?”

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Aldean is performing a tribute to Keith at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards on Thursday evening.

“As far as being a musician, I mean, he’s one of the best songwriters that’s come through town in a long time,” Aldean said of the legendary singer-songwriter. “And anybody that’s around that long has that kind of longevity to their career, I mean, that kind of speaks for itself.”

Keith died on Feb. 5 after battling stomach cancer, his family revealed in a statement at the time. The country music star announced his diagnosis in June 2022.

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Keith was known best for his hit song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” The tune became the most-played country song of the 1990s, as it was played on the radio 3 million times.

Other top hits by the artist included “I Love This Bar,” “As Good as I Once Was,” “Beer for My Horses” and “How Do You Like Me Now?!”

Throughout his career, Keith received seven Grammy nominations and was named entertainer of the year multiple times at the Academy of Country Music Awards. The country music star earned a total of 14 ACM Awards, including top male vocalist and album of the year.

Keith released his final album in 2021, “Peso in my Pocket.” The singer continued to perform after being diagnosed with cancer and took the stage one last time in December.

[#item_full_content]Jason Aldean shared the advice Toby Keith gave him with Fox News Digital as he prepared to perform a tribute to the late singer at the 2024 ACM Awards.Breaking Entertainment News on Fox News

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